On February 9, I had bilateral anterior hip replacements: two bright new shiny hips as I think about entering my 70’s.
I spent almost a week in the hospital, first in acute care, and then in re-hab, before coming home to begin the long healing process. My time in the hospital reminded me of how recovering from surgery is a mindfulness practice, in a way that is similar to a train trip.
Traveling on a train (which I do frequently, to visit my kids) is like suspending your life, your responsibilities for a day. Yes, I can still do computer work, but internet access is spotty, and so I don’t really try to be connected. I have text conversations with very few people, so it does not require my attention. My cell phone hardly rings, and when it does, I rarely answer it.
All of this puts me in a kind of ‘bubble’ when I am on the train. There are no expectations, no responsibilities. The day is mine. I can choose to read, to eat, to gaze out the window. I usually do all of those things. The choices are totally mine. It is enforced slow-living; I relish the time.
During the first night in the hospital, post-surgery, I found a semi-comfortable, drug-induced position, and never moved. I was wakened frequently, to take more drugs, to have my vital signs tested. The breathing and thinking I was doing during that time, and during the other times of restfulness, reminded me of my train trips. It was a freedom. There were no expectations; I didn’t need to pay attention to e-mails or politics. I was again in my own little ‘bubble.’
It was, and still is, a time of paying attention to multiple small details. How to walk, for example: keep your foot straight, lift it up, bring it forward, press down the heel, then the toe. Repeat with the other foot. Repeat. Repeat.
Is this drug-induced rambling? Perhaps. I hope that I am more able, in the future, to still be appreciative of every skill, to take nothing for granted.
2/17/2017 07:13:47 pm
Such a great analogy! We love traveling by train, and after getting two new knees lately, I like your description. Get well soon!
2/18/2017 06:31:10 am
Thank you Linda!
2/18/2017 07:20:00 pm
Jackie, I have recently also had two hips replaced. Learning to walk and do basic activities (like turning, getting in and out of bed and putting one foot in front of the other) has been an amazing experience- I resonate with your experience.
2/19/2017 07:51:22 am
What great words, Juanita. Thank you.
Leave a Reply.